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Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems

DBMS note 1
Manik Chand Patnaik (M.Tech.)
Lecturer, (C.S.E), Roland Institute of Technology.
Sunday, January 07 – 2007.

Advantages of a DBMS over traditional File Processing Systems

Why would you choose a database system instead of using a file processing system?

A collection of data which is known as database, needs to be placed in permanent storage,
either as data-files or stored inside a database management system. There are several limitations of
storing data in data-files. These limitations along-with the benefits of using a database is explained

1. Difficulty
File processing system is a customised solution, so we need to define the data-structures and
write the appropriate programs to access, manipulate and maintain the data stored in the
DBMS provides a generic solution so you just need to logically define the structure of data to
store. All the programs to access, manipulate and maintenance of data are provided by the
DBMS vendor.
2. Lack of Independence of data
File processing system provides a specific solution for a particular problem for which it is
implemented. For example: a student information system can not cater for the library even if
the same students go to the library to borrow books. Even if there are two exactly similar
student information systems exist in two different colleges both would have data-structures
and student records incompatible with each other because the data in data-files and the
programs acting on them are very closely tied with each other. You cannot even change the
order of individual values inside the record. If the roll number comes before the registration
number it has to be that way all through the application. You cannot keep the registration
number before the roll number in any case.
In DBMS there is no connection of the user or programmer with the storage of data. Both
the programmer and the end-user need not worry about how the data is stored or accessed.
They have to use the libraries/interfaces provided by the DBMS vendor to access the data. So
data is portable and a single source of data can serve several users around a variety of
3. Inconsistency in data
In a file processing system the data-files are not protected in any way so they can be changed
in any manner without any restrictions. At most the user account may be password
protected. Any one able to use the program to handle the data-files can change anything on
the data file so there is every threat of data becoming inconsistent due to improper handling.

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